Tag Archives: drug trafficking

Alleged Montreal Mafia leader denied bail in cocaine trafficking case

PAUL CHERRY, MONTREAL GAZETTE
More from Paul Cherry, Montreal Gazette

The alleged leader of a clan within the Montreal Mafia was denied bail in a cocaine trafficking case on Tuesday along with one of his co-accused.

Andrea (Andrew) Scoppa, 53, a resident of Île Bizard, registered little reaction as Quebec Court Judge Serge Boisvert listed off the reasons Scoppa was being denied a release in Project Estacade, an investigation into drug trafficking in Montreal and Laval conducted by the Regional Integrated Squad. On Feb. 1, eight people, including Scoppa, were charged in Project Estacade at the Montreal courthouse, and another small group of men were charged in Laval.

Fazio Malatesta, 48, was also denied bail as part of the same hearing where Boisvert heard evidence over the course of three days in April. A publication ban has been placed on the evidence. Because of the seriousness of the charges the men face, they were required to prove they merited a release, as opposed to the normal standard where the Crown is required to prove they should be detained. One reason Boisvert cited in his decision was that a well informed member of the public, aware of the evidence gathered in the case, would lose faith in the justice system if the men were released at this point in their case.

Scoppa and Malatesta are both charged with conspiring to traffic in drugs, drug trafficking and possession of cocaine with the intent to traffic in cocaine.

The case returns to court next week to set a future date for a preliminary inquiry.

Sourced From – http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/alleged-montreal-mafia-leader-denied-bail-in-cocaine-trafficking-case

Russian mafia ‘increasingly active’ in Germany

The Russian mafia is becoming “increasingly active” in Germany, with networks recruiting in German prisons and groups bringing in billions of euros each year, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has warned.

“The Russian-Eurasian organized criminality is very dynamic” BKA President Holger Münch told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “They are already expanding in the west.”

One of the most dangerous groups, according to Münch, is the so-called ‘Thieves in law’ (Diebe im Gesetz) gang, founded in Stalin’s labour camps. The group from the former Soviet Union have their own ‘laws’ and a secret language, and is thought to be recruiting from within Germany’s prisons.

The BKA has previously linked 20,000 and 40,000 people in Germany to the group, and authorities believe that its members in Germany today represent “a five-figure number” – only rough estimates are possible due to the clandestine nature of the groups.

“Eight to ten percent of inmates in German penal facilities are Russian-speaking or of Russian origin; about 5,000 people,” explained Münch. “Not all of them are part of ‘Thieves in law’ but this figure shows the large potential for recruitment for these groups in Germany.”

The BKA President emphasized that organized crime may be operating in areas not traditionally associated with the mafia, for example apartment break-ins and shoplifting; Münch mentioned one Georgian shoplifter who had been able to earn €500 per day, and said it could be assumed “with certainty” that in 2015 criminality by these gangs had led to billions of euros worth of damages.

The mafia groups are also thought to operate in drug trafficking, tax fraud, economic offences, protection money and prostitution.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is working closely with the BKA. Münch said: “When people use the asylum process to commit crimes, care must be taken to ensure that their stay is as short as possible and that they are quickly expelled.”

Full article – http://www.thelocal.de/20160711/russian-mafia-increasingly-active-in-germany

The Italian Mafia is Funding Terrorism By Buying Smuggled Hash From ISIS

Italian prosecutor claims that the Italian Mafia is buying hash that was smuggled by ISIS through Libya.

The Italian Mafia and an Islamic terrorist group meet up at a hash-smuggling operation… It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but unfortunately, according to the anti-Mafia and antiterrorism prosecutor, Franco Roberti, it’s the grim reality in the country of Italy. The Italian prosecutor claims that hash is being purchased by the Italian Mafia from Libya, which is being smuggled in by the Islamic terrorist sect ISIS.

The North African hash is being used a major source of income for the Islamic State, and the Italian Mafia is apparently a loyal customer. It’s quite profitable for the Mafia as well, which earns about 32 billion euros ($36.10 billion) a year through their illegal drug trades, a sizable portion of which is made up of hash and cannabis. It’s seems reasonable for Roberti to assume that ISIS is heavily involved. According to Ahmad Moussalli, a political science professor at the American University in Beirut, territorial expansion by ISIS on the Syrian border has put them in control of a vast amount of cannabis fields.

Instead of trying to crack down even more viciously on Italy’s use of cannabis and hash, which the government already spends millions on combating, Roberti has come forth with a much more level-headed approach. Instead, the prosecutor believes that the time has come for Italy to rescind their harsh marijuana laws, citing that decriminalization would negatively affect both the Mafia and the Islamic State.

The decriminalization of marijuana in Italy could help land a potentially critical blow to the funding of ISIS, which according to a recently published IHS Conflict Monitor report, has already dropped from $80 million in monthly revenue to $56 million since the middle of 2015. According to Roberti, a major portion of the terrorist cell’s revenue comes from drug trafficking, and decriminalization of marijuana in Italy could help put a major dent in that.

To Roberti, it makes sense to persecute the Mafia and the Islamic State in a similar manner, seeing as that Italian Mafia families, particularly in the south, have been long proponents of terrorist activities. The Mafia and ISIS could be more intertwined than it would seem at first glance, as both are heavily dependent on drug trafficking as a revenue source. But does Roberti have a sound argument for decriminalization? I would have to argue that he does.

“We spend a lot of resources uselessly. We have not succeeded in reducing cannabinoid trafficking. On the contrary, it’s increasing,” said Roberti. “Is it worth using investigative energy to fight street sales of soft drugs?”

Full Article – https://www.merryjane.com/news/the-italian-mafia-is-funding-terrorism-by-buying-smuggled-hash-from-isis

Brazil Facebook head arrested for refusing to share WhatsApp data

Police in Brazil have arrested the vice president of the social media company Facebook in Latin America.

Diego Dzodan, an Argentine national, has repeatedly refused to comply with court orders to hand over data for use in a criminal investigation into drugs trafficking, police said.

His arrest relates to the messaging service WhatsApp, owned by Facebook.

In a statement, Facebook called Mr Dzodan’s arrest an “extreme and disproportionate measure”.

Mr Dzodan’s arrest was ordered by a judge in the north-eastern state of Sergipe.

He was held as he left his house in an exclusive area of Sao Paulo on Tuesday morning.

Judge Marcel Maia Montalvao had in two previous instances issued fines against Facebook for refusing to release WhatsApp data.

The information was needed as part “secrete judicial investigations involving organised crime and drug trafficking,” he said.

In a statement, Facebook said it was “disappointed with the extreme and disproportionate measure”.

“Facebook has always been and will be available to address any questions Brazilian authorities may have,” the company said.

In December a judge in Brazil suspended WhatsApp for 48 hours.

The Sao Paulo state judge said at the time that the company failed to comply with court orders to share information in a criminal case.

Sourced from – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35700733